NHNE Special Report:
Monday, August 30, 1999
The Last Total Eclipse of the Millennium
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"
An NHNE Special Report
Monday, August 30, 1999
The Last Total Eclipse of the Millennium
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz
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THE LAST TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MILLENNIUM
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz
Hype is often misused to indicate something that will be better than
it really is. So in the midst of all the pre-eclipse "hype,"
I went to the United Kingdom for a visit. England is the most spectacular
landscape on Earth when the sun is shining off all that magnificent
greenery, but when it's cloudy -- and unfortunately it usually is --
the landscape becomes abysmal to some, and rather intriguing to others.
I prefer a little of both, but I always seem to catch the maritime climate
when it's pouring.
Since I used to teach astronomy, I could give you a play-by-play of
the eclipse Discovery Channel-style, but that information is readily
available to you (see the links listed below). Instead, I will give
you the ground version of the eclipse.
I skipped Cornwall altogether, since the crowds and the clouds were
not to my liking. Instead, I went to one of my favorite places: Avebury
Stone Circle in the heart of Wiltshire.
The village of Avebury sits inside and outside of the giant neolithic
circle and the entirety of the circle is bisected by a road. Around
this area are ancient burial mounds and, of course, the enigmatic Silbury
Hill, the largest man-made earthen structure in Europe, which appears
almost pyramidal in shape.
My husband and I stayed with friends Tom and Kerry Blower in the village
of East Kennett, about a mile from Avebury. The night before the eclipse,
Kerry's mother Marilyn, a Welsh sorceress (well, OK, she's just a witch,
but I like to embellish), told us we should all make wishes the night
before the new moon. We went round and round with our wishes for sometime.
It was a lovely evening tucked away with friends in an 18th century
thatched roof cottage.
The next day the sun rose and a beautiful blue sky emerged just as I
crawled out of bed. Hooray! The rain would hit Cornwall, but we would
have the sun for just enough time to see the moon cross in front of
it. But by 9:30 AM the clouds had gathered over our area too, and it
looked like we would be no better off than all the suckers down in Cornwall.
Never mind, it would still grow dark, since we were in the 98% path
We were all a little anxious. Kerry, Tom, and my husband, Vincent are
all survivors of the crop circle intrigue of the early 1990's, and the
edginess of "what might happen during the eclipse" crept into
our psyches. Besides that, we had all read about the Grand Cross and
the changes for each zodiac sign.
Down we went to the infamous "Stone's Restaurant" in Avebury
for tea and cakes before we headed into the circle. Amazing that about
two thousand other people had the same idea and the entire village was
crammed full of folks. Inside the circle there were families on picnic
blankets, groups seated in circle meditations near the stones, individuals
quietly seated alone meditating, guys juggling fire sticks, folks sprawled
on blankets smoking loads of pot, incense burning everywhere and all
sorts of gadgets to view the eclipse. A circus, I suppose you could
About 10:30 AM we entered the circle and I looked up to see a cloud
thin out and a carved sun, eclipsed by the moon. (It was so cloudy,
that a kind of filter formed and we used sunglasses instead of the eclipse
goggles.) I was absolutely thrilled to see it and I yelled out to everyone
to look up. As the time approached, we met with our friends and all
stood together, but we could only see glimpses of the sun as it moved
in and out of clouds. It grew dark, and I felt different. We all kept
watch on the sky to see if the sun would break through the clouds again.
Then I had this deja vu. There was a flash before my eyes and I remembered
a dream where I was in this place with a bunch of people that I didn't
know and something special was happening. I screamed and started slapping
my husband because it was him and the Blowers and Avebury in the dream,
which I hadn't remembered until now. I was stunned by the deja vu, or
deja blip, I should say, since in the moments after that I lost all
memory of the original dream.
The clouds parted in time for us to see the moon fully eclipse the sun.
Significantly, this was one of Vince's wishes the night before. He likes
suspense and drama and he wished that the clouds would break at the
least minute and they did.
You would think a hush passed over the crowd, as we all stood in awe
of this rare event. Sounds poetic, but it didn't happen that way. Imagine
that the moon is running race across the sky to pass the sun just in
time. Imagine you want the moon to win. That's what it was like. Some
people were obviously preoccupied in their own eclipse-agendas, but
those with no agenda were rooting for the moon: "Go!" "Do
it!" "Alright!" "Yeah!" "Woohoo!"
Cheers all around. Most folks were cheering and applauding as the moon
covered the sun. Perhaps this is cultural conditioning. Another time
and place we would have sacrificed a life or fled in fear as the sun
was blocked out, but not on August 11th, 1999. No sirree. We gave our
full support to the home team.
And then it was over. Everyone packed up their gear and went home, but
not I believe, unaffected. A sense of triumph prevailed. It had happened:
an event that more human beings witnessed and celebrated together all
over the world, perhaps second only to the coming millennium. It is
amazing how we have become one Earth, with the advent of technology,
and our fascination with celestial maneuvers.
Recalling the darkened skies is dream-like. The sky was dark and then
it was light again, and my biological clock was kind of confused. In
fact, many people had headaches and stomaches and generally didn't feel
well for the remainder of the day. I felt like I had drank a double
latte and 2 shots of vodka: wide awake and yet a little dizzy. The area
between my eyes -- my third eye for those of you attuned to that area
-- felt pressured. My husband and friends said they were nauseated the
But the next day, August 12th, came right on schedule and we were all
alive. Amazing. I heard on BBC news about a man who had predicted the
end of the world two hours after the eclipse; he booked a room in a
posh hotel and never showed up. He had given away most of his money
and settled his affairs.
I am left to wonder if hype really means something will be better than
it actually is, or if hype is just simply a culmination of expectations,
some of which are fulfilled and some which are not. Oddly enough, the
Sherry-skeptopath, had some rather amazing epiphanies and continued
deja vu's for the entire trip. Whether this was a by-product of the
eclipse or simply a long over due kick in the pants is entirely subject
[Editor's Note: Once Sherry was back in the States, she posted the following
two stories to NHNE's Forum for a Common Understanding. See below for
more details about this forum.]
THE ONLY THING THAT SEPARATES US FROM THEM IS THE LANGUAGE
Monday, August 23, 1999
I have a couple stories to tell you that I hope will brighten your day
and give you a better understanding of how we "Americans"
have made the English language our own.
I love to shop in England, not because the food is better; it's just
different. Kind of like being on the flip side of your reality, because
it's all the same language, right? It's just different stuff that I
have never seen in a grocery store, err, excuse me, "shoppe"
before. (And that's not pronounced "shopee", it's just "shop".)
Now if you were shopping in a shoppe in the UK, as I have on three different
occasions when I have visited the green isle, you would see a packet
of cookie-like things called "Digestive Biscuits." If you
were me, and you saw the way these things were packaged, you would naturally
assume that they were medicinal, since they are quite austere compared
to your usual colorful cookie wrapper.
One afternoon when I was having my one millionth cup of tea in my friend
Kerry's back garden, I felt a rumble of unhappiness in my stomach, so
I went into her kitchen looking for some comfort. I recalled that she
had some of those digestive biscuits, so I ate one. It tasted a bit
like graham crackers flavored with bicarbonate, and I knew then that
they were medicinal so I had another one. They are quite wheat-germy
as well. I assumed this was to give you a good bowel movement as well
as settle your stomach.
I trotted on back into the garden and told Vincent, my English-born
husband, that I was feeling much better after eating some of those "digestive
"What do you mean?" he said.
"I ate some of those digestive biscuits for my stomach ache."
All conversation stopped and four Brits stared at me in horror. Then
they started hooting and howling.
Now really, if digestive biscuits are supposed to be cookies, why are
they called "digestive biscuits"? And why do they taste like
those fake cookies my mom used to pass off in the mid-70's when she
was reading too many PREVENTION MAGAZINES?
I now had the upper hand because the British people are a rational culture
and my English friends could not tell me why the cookies were so poorly
named. They all stopped and looked at each in wonder.
"Why are they called digestive biscuits?" they said in unison.
My theory is that it's a conspiracy to get people to eat high fiber.
And as my friend Kerry pointed out, they do taste "like shredded
THE HOOF & FARTER: THE NAMES THEY GIVE THESE ENGLISH PUBS!
Tuesday, August 24, 1999
The day of the eclipse was a busy one in England, since no one wanted
to go to work and most folks didn't, or took off half the day to be
with their families. We were at Avebury Stone Circle in the village
of Avebury which has a pub called "The Red Lion" and a vegetarian
restaurant called "Stones's". After the eclipse, Vince and
I were on our way to visit the Devil's Den, just outside of Malborough,
so we didn't stay in the village for lunch, though were quite hungry.
(The Devil's Den is an ancient burial site called a "doloman";
it's a tomb built with giant stones at the entrance, and this one is
in the middle of a farmer's field.)
Our friend Kerry said she would give us a lift to the Devil's Den, but
then we realized we should all have a meal first before we parted ways.
We also decided to have lunch away from the crowds. Kerry suggested
that we eat at a nearby pub called "The Bell", but it wasn't
close enough to the Devil's Den, so she suggested another pub called
"The Hoof and Fodder", which was closer.
We were all crunched in her car driving along and I said, "Where's
the Hoof and Fodder?" (I had never heard of it even though I had
spent about two months in the area last summer.)
Vince looked at me like I was crazy. So I asked Kerry, "Where's
the Hoof and Fodder, Kerry?"
"Th' what!? The Hoof and Farter?" (Imagine a heavy Welsh accent
here.) They all looked at me in disbelief.
"The pub, the Hoof and Fodder," I repeated.
There was no going back after that. They wept until they were sick.
Realizing I had somehow mispronounced the name of the pub, I asked them
to pronounce it for me again.
"It's called the 'Who'da Thought It?'," says my husband sardonically
in his best American accent.
The "Who'da Thought It?" is an even more unique name than
the one I gave it, but not as crass as what they thought I called it.
You see, for as much as I cannot understand these people, they cannot
understand me either. It was late that afternoon before I finally explained
that I was saying "fodder" and not "farter."
What did they say to that?
"The Hoof and Fodder? Oh yeah, that's not a bad name for a pub..."
This is a great site for information about the Avebury Stone Circle
and the Wiltshire area where I visited this year and last summer.
The Earth View ECLIPSE Network:
This website has information about eclipses, including several great
tutorials on how eclipses occur in space.
NASA solar eclipse web pages:
Solar Eclipse Information:
Eclipse Home Page:
Solar Eclipse 1999:
This is a great page about the solar eclipse in Cornwall with photographs
of the eclipse as I saw from Avebury Stone Circles; the sun and moon
were cloaked in misty clouds, like you would expect on the green ilse.
NHNE's Special Report on Crop Circles:
This website includes interviews with Kerry Blower and my new husband,
Vincent Palmer. This may help explain the significance of my trip back
to England and the interesting deja vu I had in Avebury.
GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?
If you've got something you would like to share with Sherry and other
NHNE fans concerning anything shared here, you can join NHNE's Forum
for a Common Understanding, which Sherry facilitates:
To sign up, send a message to "firstname.lastname@example.org".
To see what everyone has been talking about, you can visit the forum's
archive at this address:
You are also welcome to post any thoughts you might have on the NHNE
Sherry can be reached directly at the following address:
Copyright 1999 by NewHeavenNewEarth
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